‘A Hidden Ulster – people, songs and traditions of Oriel’ – Order Here


Dr. Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin

Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin


Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin is the author of A Hidden Ulster – people, songs and traditions of Oriel (Four Courts Press, 2003), the author of ORIEL ARTS PROJECT (Online, 2018) and artistic director for Éigse Oirialla.

A multifaceted traditional artist: researcher, song writer, author and a professional singer since 1999, she is a recipient of major An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council of Ireland awards and bursaries. Other awards, include Gradam Shean-Nós Cois Life in 2003 for her contribution to the Irish song tradition; she is the first traditional musician to receive a Major Arts Award from the Northern Ireland Arts Council and is a recent recipient of the 2018 TG4 Gradam Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Traditional Music’

A former broadcaster and newsreader with RTE, she has researched and presented radio programmes, such as the earliest archival programme of traditional music, ‘Reels of Memory’ (RTÉ, 1979-1981). She was awarded a PhD in 2008

She has been a Foras na Gaeilge Traditional Musician in Residence in the Seamus Heaney Centre of Poetry in QUB, with one year residencies in DkIT County Louth and The Glens Centre in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, and also the first recipient of an Irish language fellowship from the Royal Literary Fund based at St Mary’s University College Belfast and Queen’s University Belfast.

Singing has been the main focus of her professional career, and restoring song in the corpus of the Irish Gaelic tradition; she has recorded nine studio albums of song including An Dara Craiceann (1995), and a recent double CD Ceoltaí Oirialla (27 songs 2017). For young people her recordings include a double CD A Stór is A Stóirín (36 songs Gael Linn, 1993) and Let the Fairies In (Ceoltaí Éireann 2014) and also An Irish Lullaby (Shanachie, US 2000)

Original compositions in Irish are CD Áilleacht (Gael Linn 2005), and a collaborative work with poets, Ciaran Carson and Seamus Heaney on Songs of the Scribe (Ceoltaí Éireann, 2011) which is a collection of Irish medieval monastic bilingual verses set to music, with harp accompaniment from harpist Helen Davies.

Original song compositions in English and song airs by her have been recorded by musicians, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and ALTAN, Dolores Keane, The Black Family, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh & DANU, The Boys of the Lough, Skylark, Steve Vai, Helen Davies & Palle Mikkelberg, Gunnar Andreas Berg & Henning Sommerro, and others.

Her residencies involved composition in the traditional style for early Irish poetry, medieval Irish poetry, Bardic poetry, traditional songs and new songs in Irish; poetry in Irish and English including works by leading Irish contemporary poets such as Ciarán Carson, Seamus Heaney, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Michael Hartnett, and also earlier works by W. B Yeats, Olav Hauge, Fearghal Óg Mac an Bháird, Fear Flátha Ó Gnímh, Eoghan Rua Mac an Bháird among others.

Research projects on Breifne song, harp songs and songs of Oriel poets is ongoing.

She has two sons and lives in Mullaghban in south Armagh.